How to work at a hotel

How to work at a hotel

The hotel and hospitality industry offers many types of employment for job seekers. Hotels need a variety of employees for front desk work, performing cleaning duties, security and managing day-to-day operations. More demanding and lucrative jobs generally require prospective employees to have some form of prior hotel work experience. People seeking to enter the hospitality industry may wish to look for entry-level positions that require less upfront experience or seek temporary positions from staffing agencies. Students enrolled in a hotel management program can search for internship opportunities within the field.

One of the easiest ways to get hotel work experience is to apply for entry-level positions within the industry. Positions in housekeeping, recreation, and food and beverage typically require less experience and those areas may need extra employees during seasonal periods. While these jobs can be physically demanding, they also can help an employee develop contacts within the industry and a familiarity with how hotels operate. Other types of prior service industry experience can helpful in proving that an applicant is qualified for a customer service role within a hotel environment. Some employees may wish to start out in smaller hotels to gain some experience before applying for work in more exclusive properties.

Going through temporary staffing agencies can be another good method of acquiring hotel work experience. Hotels often contract with temp agencies to find employees to fill in for staff members who are ill or on vacation. This can be a good method of finding seasonal employment or part-time work in areas that attract tourists. Temping also offers ways to find permanent positions within the industry and allows people to make useful contacts. Temporary employees may have to deal with lower wages and reduced work benefits, depending on their agreement with their staffing agency.

People interested a management career within the hotel and hospitality industry often enroll in a two- or four-year degree program dedicated to this field. While these programs can help prepare an employee for many facets of the hotel workplace, the classroom cannot provide real-world experience. Students may wish to seek hotel work experience in the form of an internship or summer employment. Internships can provide a good opportunity for students to learn, without requiring them to have the same level of expertise as a regular employee. Many internships are competitive and may require prospective applicants to possess a minimum level of customer service knowledge to qualify for these hotel work experience opportunities.

How to work at a hotel

Hotel maintenance workers are well-rounded helpers who offer preventative maintenance and repairs to all areas of the hotel, including its exterior, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical systems, floors, walls and furniture. They have the skills to use a variety of equipment and the ability to work a physically demanding role that can demand on-call work to handle emergencies. Since this career requires a wide repair and maintenance background with varied duties each day, working in hotel maintenance can be a good fit if you are a jack-of-all-trades and like doing different tasks each day on the job.

Job Description

Working in hotel maintenance, you are responsible for keeping the hotel maintained and fixing any errors that are needed. This can include putting in new carpets in guest rooms, repairing holes in walls, changing settings on cooling and heating equipment, putting new light bulbs in the hotel’s outdoor lamps and performing general cleaning tasks inside and outside the hotel’s building. Other hotel maintenance duties and responsibilities include repainting walls, fixing broken furniture, fixing minor electrical issues and making faucets stop leaking. You can expect physically demanding work that includes using tools and equipment and moving around much of the day, including having to climb ladders, lift heavy items and crawl in tight spaces when necessary.

Education Requirements

A high school education with classes in repair and maintenance can prepare you to be a hotel maintenance professional. These courses should give you a well-rounded background in topics like plumbing, electricity, air conditioning and heating systems, wall repair, carpentry and cleaning. The hotel that employs you may also provide job shadowing and training to teach you common maintenance tasks. Depending on what type of hotel maintenance tasks you do, tour state may require you to pursue additional certification or licensure.

As of May 2017, general maintenance and repair workers got paid a median wage of $37,670 a year, with half making less and the other half getting more. Pay varied significantly from below $22,820 for the bottom 10 percent of workers to over $61,720 for the top 10 percent. Travel accommodation ranked third in employment level and offered workers an average of $34,730 a year, coming after $37,180 for real estate and $42,750 for local government.


The BLS reported in May 2017 that around 85,000 of an estimated 1.3 million general maintenance and repair workers found employment in travel accommodation, where they worked in hotels, resorts, rental homes, hostels and other lodgings. While some maintenance professionals offer services to multiple facilities at a time, hotel maintenance workers tend to stay at the same facility for their work shifts. They often work irregular hours and may come in on their days off, if the hotel needs an emergency repair.

Years of Experience

Working as a hotel maintenance leader can lead to raises and promotion opportunities based on how many years you have worked in maintenance. While did not report salary ranges by experience for hotel maintenance workers, it did show a pay range in May 2018 of between $21,023 and $41,244 that will depend on your experience. To have a more generous income, you can seek promotion to a hotel maintenance manager role, which listed as having a higher pay range of $25,491 to $49,377.

Job Growth Trend

The BLS reports a good outlook for all general maintenance workers between 2016 and 2026. This occupation will grow not only by 8 percent, but also it will feature many job openings to replace retiring maintenance workers. The greatest demand is for maintenance professionals who make home repairs, although new building construction and maintenance needed for older buildings also will fuel growth. You can expect better prospects, if you have at least a year of experience doing maintenance work.

So you want to be a hotel manager. Great. You’ve made a good choice—it’s a pretty awesome career.

When you work in a hotel, you can make a person’s day just by anticipating their needs or by going above and beyond to put a smile on their face.

It also gives you the opportunity to see the world and experience new things. After all, a hospitality career is transferable to just about anywhere in the world. If you want to take your experience and find a job in the Bahamas or Singapore, you could do that.

But just how do you actually break into this industry and work your way toward that dream job in hotel management?

I’ve done some research and come up with four steps you can follow to get started right away to eventually managing your own hotel.

1. Start at the bottom

The hospitality industry values someone who has actually worked the entry-level jobs and understands the front end of the business. So if you want to be a hotel manager, the best way to do that is to start at the bottom of the ladder.

That’s because if you’re going to manage a hotel, you’ve got to understand what goes into making a hotel great. The housekeepers that make the rooms immaculate before a guest ever sets foot inside, the bellhop that whisks the luggage upstairs with a smile, the person at the front desk who greets the guests and puts a key in their hands within minutes of walking through the door—all are absolutely critical to a good guest experience.

And if you’ve worked those jobs, you are much better able to manage them.

If you’ve got your eyes on the hotel manager position, you need to grab whatever job you can in a hotel. If that means taking a job as a dishwasher, do it. If it’s part-time work or a summer internship, take it. It’s about getting your foot in the door at this stage.

2. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond

Just like any business, you’ll get ahead in a hotel by going above and beyond your day-to-day tasks. A manager must oversee all the aspects of running a hotel, so look for opportunities to help out in other areas.

For example: If you’re working as a bellhop, try to find out little details about guests’ wants and desires as you take them to their room, and then report back to the manager to figure out some way to make their stay special.

Maybe a couple admired their view of the bay and remarked about how it would nice to go jet skiing. Come back in an hour, after they’ve settled in, with a detailed list of where they can go to rent a jet ski, and maybe even offer them a lift in the hotel shuttle to get there.

This extra effort not only helps you understand your customers better, which is invaluable to being a good hotel manager, but will also impress management, who might decide to take advantage of your enthusiasm and give you some extra responsibilities.

There are plenty of other ways to show that you hope to climb the ladder. You might also take an interest in the back end operations, and ask to learn the software system the hotel uses. The more industry skills you develop, the more valuable you are.

One hotel manager said in an interview with Lifehacker:

“I moved up by having a no BS policy and being hardworking, reliable, persistent, respectful, professional and willing to volunteer for tasks that are outside of my job description. I’ve always been willing to help the housekeepers make beds, do laundry, mop up a spill, clean the pool, change a lightbulb or anything as long as it serves the best interest of the hotel. It’s a longer road than some other ways of moving up but it’s more satisfying.”

3. Seek help within

Going the extra mile can include directly asking the current management if you can become an apprentice, or if they provide some form of leadership training.

Management will love seeing that you want to make the hotel better and will more than likely try to accommodate you.

Some hotel chains are being proactive about this. Hilton Worldwide, for example, offers an apprenticeship program that lasts six months and helps interested employees learn every aspect of the business, from housekeeping to security to the front office.

The apprentices complete a six-week rotation through each department in a hotel, and then they choose a department to focus on for about four months. After the apprenticeship ends, they make a presentation to the executive committee at Hilton, and even receive a certificate that is recognized across the industry.

4. Get a degree—maybe

Some people think hospitality degrees are worth it, while others say don’t bother. You should consider a few important factors before sinking a lot of money into a hospitality degree.

However, for some of the most coveted hotel management jobs, a degree might be necessary to separate yourself from the pack.

Plenty of colleges offer courses in hotel management programs such as hotel administration, marketing, management, catering, and others. The best way to find out what type of degree your hotel values the most is to simply ask. They may also have a relationship with a college that has produced hotel managers for them in the past.

What questions do you have about hotel management?

Nothing beats hearing from people who’ve actually climbed the ladder about how to get there. What questions do you have about what it takes to get ahead in this business? Ask us in the comments below, and if you’re a successful hotel manager, please help them out by sharing your real-life experiences in the industry.

Also, read up on what salary a hotel manager should earn or what kind of interview questions help identify an ideal hotel employee to learn more about what to expect in the industry.

Looking to give your virtual background a real-life makeover? Stay with us and escape for a day, week, or take an extended family workcation. We’ve put together custom hotel packages that will help you get the most out of your work (and play).

Why work from home when you can work anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy?

Open the door to your new office

Say goodbye to lackluster Wi-Fi and your make-shift kitchen table desk for the day. Find your focus in a quiet guest room and escape the daily distractions that come with doing your work at home. Arrive as early as 6am and stay until 6pm.

Had enough of your house? Stay the night with us for a change of scenery, check in early and check out late. Enjoy uninterrupted time to take care of business during the day, then relax with a cocktail before your restful night’s sleep.

Shake up the monotony of your at-home routine and take a resort vacation sure to land in the memory books. Finish your work poolside, then pamper yourself at the spa while the kids enjoy the on-site activities.

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How to work at a hotel

The free wireless Internet connection at your hotel can be ideal for keeping up with email, checking in for your flight and managing work while away from the office. But a wireless network can also be an access point for hackers and other intruders who may infiltrate your computer or transmit a virus. Take steps to protect yourself and safely use your hotel’s wireless network.

Step 1

Turn on your computer’s firewall to block hackers and unwanted traffic while on the wireless hotspot. On a Mac, select “System Preferences” and click “Security” to activate the firewall. On a Windows Vista computer, click the “Start” menu and select “Control Panel.” Double-click “Network and Internet,” select “Windows Firewall,” and click “Turn Windows Firewall On.” Consult your user manual for all other operating systems.

Step 2

Disable file sharing on your computer while it’s on the hotel’s wireless network, to avoid unwittingly transmitting private files and folders to the entire guest list at the hotel. On a Mac, open “System Preferences” in the “Apple” menu and click “Sharing.” In Windows Vista, open your “Control Panel” and click “Network and Internet.” Open “Network and Sharing Center” and select “Turn off file sharing.” Consult your computer’s user manual if you’re using a different operating system.

Step 3

Connect to the hotel’s wireless network. The network title probably will include the hotel’s name. If several networks are accessible from within the hotel, consult the front desk to determine the official wireless access point. The other network connections may be unsecured or malicious and may open up your computer to viruses or hacker attacks.

Step 4

Check for a secure login page before you sign in. Most hotel wireless access points require you to submit your name, room number or other personal information. Look for an address starting with “https://” to ensure the login page is encrypted to protect your personal information.

  • "Wireless Safety: Wireless5 Safety Certification;" EC-Council; 2009
  • 7 Tips for Working Securely from Wireless Hotspots
  • Your operating system’s manufacturer constantly releases updated and patches to resolve security holes and problems with the software. Keep your computer updated at all times to avoid being exploited by a hacker or virus.

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

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How to work at a hotel

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How to work at a hotel

Applying for a job in hotel or restaurant management requires a personable nature, attention to detail and the ability to project confidence. The letter you draft in conjunction with your job application should demonstrate that you’re articulate, knowledgeable and have the ability to be engaging with customers and staff.

Introduce Yourself

The opening of your letter should both introduce you and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the potential of working with the hotel or restaurant. You want to sound knowledgeable and genuine in your approach. Example:

I’m delighted to submit my application for the role of manager of the Elegant Hotel Company. My family has been a patron of this wonderful establishment for more than 30 years, and I’m enamored at the prospect of building on the legacy and reputation of a business I have such fond personal memories of.

Outline Your Qualifications

While you should lead with and emphasize your specific experience in the hotel or restaurant management industries, other areas to focus on include customer service, employee and vendor relations and event planning. Example:

In addition to the eight years I spent managing The Fine Dining restaurant in New York City, I also have substantial experience in catering and event planning, having worked my way through college for a major convention planning company. I pride myself on providing exceptional degrees of customer service, and I place high value on creating the best possible working relationships with my staffers.

If you have specific education, experience or training related to the industry, make note of that as well. This is especially important if the job description asks for specific skill sets.

Showcase Your Personality

Hotel and restaurant hospitality is all about creating a memorable experience for customers, so make sure your application letter showcases your personality. Example:

I’m a big believer in creating enjoyable experiences for every guest. It’s my job to ensure every person not only has everything they want or need during their stay, I want them to feel catered to and appreciated. This attitude is something I try to weave through every element of my management role.

Conclude your letter by referencing any attachments, such as resume, letters of recommendation or even industry awards you won yourself or on behalf of previous employers. Finish with a call to action, such as requesting an interview or noting some other type of next step. Example:

Attached, please find my resume, a copy of the International Hotel Association Customer Service Excellence award I received in 2016 and three letters of recommendation from past employers. If you feel I’m a good fit for this position, I’d love the chance to meet in person and learn more about this exciting opportunity.

  • Le Cordon Bleu Paris: Working as a Manager in a Hospitality Establishment
  • Cornell University: Hotel School: 5 Essential Skills of Successful Hotel General Managers

Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.

How to work at a hotel

As a big-time traveler who’s worked for Marriott for seven years, I’ve learned my way around a hotel property or two.

Whether you’re visiting for business, personal time, or vacation, there are a few things you should avoid doing if you want to get on the good side of the hotel staff. Some of these tips may even get you a few freebies along the way.

Read on for the biggest things I wish people would stop doing when they stay at hotels.

Don’t act surprised when we don’t have the same amenities and menus as the property you stayed at in another city

Although select brands within a hotel family, like Marriott or Hilton, try their best to maintain consistency across the world, they can’t.

Although my Tennessee location would love to serve you the fresh seafood you found during your stay in Florida, it’s far too costly for us to make a profit that way.

Looking at things like menus and amenities before you book can help ensure we have on-site options that meet your expectations.

Incidental holds are a universal practice — don’t debate us on this

Without fail, we get guests every day who will go to war to stop their credit card from being held for an extra $25 incidental hold, which the hotel needs on file to cover things like charging room service to your tab or paying for any damages you may leave behind.

The most common claim I get is, “No other hotel has ever held more money. This is crap!”

Truthfully, they most likely authorized your card for a little bit extra and didn’t explain it to you, but there’s no need to get red in the face. If you don’t leave damages, order a pay-per-view movie, or charge things to your room, the money will be released back to your card in three to five days, I promise.

The rate you booked online is the same rate on my screen, and believe it or not, it’s the same one you’ll be paying

If you booked directly through the brand website you’re already at the best rate we can offer. Showing us the Expedia rate at the check-in desk is more frustrating than you could imagine.

I understand it may be cheaper but, as an employee, I have no way of knowing when the screenshot is from nor am I able to match it. If I dropped the rate any lower, I’d be risking a one-on-one meeting with my manager the next morning.

If you’re really looking for a last-minute deal, my hotel allows guests to pair their AAA, AARP, or hotel rewards number to your reservation, which can save them between $10 and $30 a night depending on the Marriott location. In this case, I will gladly verify your membership and reduce your rate.

There is no reason to announce your elite status — I have it right in front of me

We adore our regulars and look to treat our most loyal guests with the highest level of service. As a matter of fact, it’s what we’re trained to do.

That being said, we already knew you were coming and applied any freebies and upgrades to your reservation that we could. I appreciate the confidence of entry-level members who ask for upgrades, but parading your status around isn’t going to get you anything extra.

What you can do is find a hotel brand you love and stay there every time you travel. Your points-earning rate grows the more you stay, so eventually, your rooms will start paying for themselves in points.

Yes, the gas station sells the same snacks we have for cheaper, no, you don’t need to tell us

Once you’re in the hotel, everything is about luxury and convenience. Unfortunately, that reflects in the prices for any snacks or miscellaneous items we have as well.

We know the prices are high. I agree that $40 for two sodas, a Lunchable, and a kid-size box of candy is ridiculous, so you don’t have to tell us.

Think about it like this — the gas money we saved you from going to the store is factored into our prices.

If you choose to smoke in the rooms we will find you and we will charge you

I’ve seen every trick in the book that people think covers up cigarette smoke, and every person has been hit with a $250 to $500 fine. The towel under the door, candle, and bathroom vent don’t do what you think they do.

Every room gets inspected before a new guest arrives, so the lingering smell and ash on the carpet could only have come from the previous guests. Don’t let that be you.

Just smoke outside so you can put that money toward another trip.

Plan ahead if you want to arrive early — simply popping in is a recipe for failure

When arriving at a hotel, you have to keep in mind that it might have been sold out the night before — meaning there is quite literally nowhere to put you if you show up early.

Additionally, we accommodate our rewards members who planned ahead for an early arrival first, so showing up unannounced seven hours before your check-in time isn’t going to end well for you.

Give us a call the day before or the morning of your arrival and ask if there’s a chance you can have an early check-in time. This gives us the opportunity to hold a room for you or prioritize the cleaning of your room type.

One property I worked at was always slow to turn suites and spa rooms because the housekeepers hated cleaning them. But if we got a call about an early check-in we could have the room done by 10 a.m. Otherwise, it was slim pickings until 3 p.m. at best.

Don’t complain about ‘missing’ room features when the information was available online

Without fail, every single week, hotels across the US get ripped in reviews because the guests didn’t like the room style or claim “they were unaware of missing features.” But all of the details are listed online.

If you need a microwave or a dresser with drawers in your room, please take a look at the listing before you book. Once you book, arrive, and unpack there is nothing we can do to make it better.

It’s laughable when people book minimalist hotels like Aloft, Moxy, and Element then complain to the front desk that there aren’t couches in their rooms.

Taking an extra 10 minutes to scroll through room and lobby photos before booking will truly make your next stay more enjoyable.

The best way to get a late checkout is by asking for permission, not forgiveness

As long as we’re not busy the next day, we can generally grant the majority of late-checkout requests. Most hotels have moved their standard departure times from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. to better accommodate guests anyway.

Rooms aren’t preassigned to the next guest, so asking for a 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. checkout is pretty doable. The housekeeping team already has plenty of work on their plate, so skipping your room to come back later is only a big deal if you leave it trashed (you shouldn’t).

On the other hand, staying later than expected without communicating is a huge inconvenience that can result in you being locked out of the room and put you at risk for additional charges.